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Gewog Administrations tops complaints leading to investigation: ACC report

By Puran Gurung

In Anti-Corruption Commissionโ€™s Annual Report (2020-2021) โ€“ the commission registered highest complaints against gewog administrations that qualified for investigation.

ACC reported that the commission in terms of agency, it received highest complaints against gewog administration with 15 complaints, followed by 10 complaints against ministries and then nine complaints against corporations.

There were four complaints against Thromdes and dzongkhag administrations, three complaints against state-owned agencies and financial institutions, two complaints against autonomous agencies and one complaint against religious organizations.

In terms of complaints, the commission report say, majority of complaints pertains to abuse of functions at 45.6 percent followed by embezzlements at 29.8 percent in the areas of public revenue and resources.

Following the major forms of complaints, other complaints were in regard to bribery, conflict of interests, disproportionate assets, money laundering, and trading in influence.

Meanwhile, there were 57 complaints qualified for investigation during the reporting period. According to the report, 71.4 percent of these complaints were received from Known Sources indicating that the complaints from the Known Source are more reliable and authentic. In addition to 42 complaints qualified for investigation, based on the findings of complaints that had been โ€˜Shared for Actionโ€™ is 4 and โ€˜Information Enrichmentโ€™ is 11, another 15 complaints qualified for investigation in the reporting period.

Additionally, the 57 complaints that qualified for investigation during the reporting period, only 20 complaints were assigned for investigation by the end of the reporting period, reports the commission. There were also cases from 2020, 16 other complaints of previous years were also assigned for investigation. Till date, there are 96 complaints which are yet to be assigned for investigation.

The commission report further mentions that the 36 complaints assigned for investigation, eight were related to on-going cases, and further one complaint got assigned as two different cases. Hence, the new cases opened for investigation during the reporting period is 29.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic during the reporting period, the ACC continued to receive complaints that qualified for full-fledged investigation, say the annual report. In the last 18 months, the commission opened a total of 29 new cases adding to the 25 spillover cases brought forward from the previous reporting year. In addition, anticipating prolonging of the restrictions of the pandemic situation that limits the field investigations, the commissionโ€™s investigators were also assigned 35 backlog complaints qualified for investigation to undertake desk review. The annual report say, these complaints included mostly land related cases.

Meanwhile, the commission completed 27 cases against the total caseload. Six cases forming 22.2 percent were forwarded to the Office of the Attorney General for prosecution, 9 cases forming 33.3 percent were shared with the relevant agency for administrative action and the remaining 12 cases forming 44.4 percent were either closed or dropped in absence of any substantive evidence vis-ร -vis incriminating testimonies from the witness available. Further, from the total of 35 backlog complaints assigned for desk review, five were completed, reports ACCโ€™s annual report.

In the annual report, the commission reports the overall achievement in terms of bringing the case to a logical conclusion in this reporting period at 50 percent. As of 30 June 2021, 27 cases were on-going at various stages of investigation some of which were due for completion within the first quarter of the financial year 2021 โ€“ 2022.

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